Reading: Psalm 23
Verse 6: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”
“The Lord is my shepherd…” These are such familiar words. We know them and the words that follow mostly by heart. These verses bring comfort, peace, strength, assurance. These words are right up there with “Our father who art in heaven…” The image of a shepherd evokes thoughts of care and guidance, of direction and provision. All of this is found in the 23rd Psalm.
“I shall not be in want.” This is such a summary statement. It speaks of God’s all-inclusive, all-encompassing care for us. In a world that promises to satisfy our wants, we soon enough find out that all the world offers is shallow and temporary. God alone provides what we really need deep down – green pastures, still waters, the restoration of our soul, guidance in this life. These feel maybe a bit mundane or basic yet they are essential to our lives. In the good seasons of life, it can be easy to forget the source or to become ungrateful for all of these simple blessings that God provides.
“Even though I walk…” This verse reminds us of our deep need for God. In the valley – whether because of grief or loss or because our enemies seem all around us – God is with us, the rod drawing us close, the staff protecting us from all that assails us. This comfort and protection are both also all-inclusive and all-encompassing. So too are the blessings that follow in the Psalm. The table, the anointing, the cup – they all overflow. God is so good. “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for always shepherding your people. From the wilderness experience to the quiet whisper on the mountaintop and in many other ways, you lead and guide, you provide, you restore, you rescue. In the incarnation you gave voice to who and what you are in a new expression. You led and taught, you reconciled, you set for us an example to follow. And in the Spirit you continue the conversation, the provision, the guidance, the love and care. Thank you God for shepherding your people, for shepherding me. Amen.